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Pivotal Storytelling: Jason Reid Previews “Rise of the Black Quarterback,” Andscape Books’ First Title

Senior NFL writer's 2019 "Year Of The Black Quarterback" enterprise series will be updated for Aug. 2022 book about men who were "born to play the most important position in sports"

Jason Reid: “The book is built on a foundation of reporting about the lives of the Black quarterback pioneers, who blazed a path for today’s superstars, and the lives of the superstars who are changing the game.” (Andscape)

Entering the National Football League’s 100th season in September 2019, Kansas City Chief Patrick Mahomes was the league’s Most Valuable Player. Russell Wilson was the Seattle Seahawks’ signal-caller and the NFL’s highest-paid player. Arizona Cardinal Kyler Murray was the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, rounding out a triad of accomplishments by Black quarterbacks.

For its coverage of the league, Andscape launched a season-long “Year of the Black Quarterback” (#YOTBQB) enterprise series to examine the emerging prominence of Black quarterbacks in the NFL. Award-winning senior NFL reporter Jason Reid helmed the project.

Reid’s #YOTBQB series led to his first book – Rise of the Black Quarterback: What it Means for America – set to publish on Aug. 2. It is the first title under the Andscape Books imprint launched last month by Disney Worldwide Publishing.

Featuring additional reporting and research by Reid, Rise of the Black Quarterback combines a narrative of triumphs and tragedies, swagger and psychology, power and vulnerabilities, with the history and impact of the Black quarterback. Reid discussed the book with Front Row as part of its cover art reveal.

Describe some of the processes you had to go through writing this book, your first project as an author.
Like everything I do in covering the NFL for Andscape and ESPN, it all starts with the reporting. The book is built on a foundation of reporting about the lives of the Black quarterback pioneers, who blazed a path for today’s superstars, and the lives of the superstars who are changing the game. There were many lengthy conversations to gain perspective about the men featured in the book. And there were many long nights spent writing. With this being my first book, I did not know what to expect. But, it was an incredibly invigorating process.

The book imprint and the entire Andscape expansion and relaunch demonstrate how much the company has invested in diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is great to work at a place that values those things. – Jason Reid

What are the common traits among successful Black quarterbacks you identified in your book?
All these men – the trailblazers and today’s elite QBs – have an unwavering belief in their abilities. They are smart, determined, and courageous. Most of all, they are leaders. Eagerly, they seek to shoulder responsibility for the success or failure of their respective groups. They thrive in those tense moments when teammates look to them to inspire confidence. They understand that in football, as in life, more is expected of certain people. They all were born to play the most important position in sports.

How do you feel about Rise of the Black Quarterback being the first title by Disney Publishing Worldwide under the Andscape Books imprint?
For me, it’s a source of immense pride. Throughout my time at Andscape, I have received incredible support from its senior leaders. I have so many opportunities to challenge myself and grow, and this book is yet another example of the leadership’s faith in me. The book imprint and the entire Andscape expansion and relaunch demonstrate how much the company has invested in diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is great to work at a place that values those things.

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